COVID-19 booster shots have been approved for millions of Americans who are especially vulnerable because of organ transplants, certain cancers and other disorders.
In response to surging cases of the delta variant, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday adopted a recommendation from its Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices to clear booster shots of the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines for people with weak immune systems.
Immunocompromised patients make up roughly 2.7% of the U.S. adult population and 44% of hospitalized breakthrough infections, where someone gets infected even after they’ve been fully vaccinated. Small studies also suggest, according to the CDC, that immunocompromised people are more likely to transmit the virus to household contacts.
The CDC recommends people with moderately to severely compromised immune systems receive an additional vaccine dose at least 28 days after their second dose.
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Following the announcement Friday, federal health officials said booster shots "could start being administered immediately." Since then, multiple retail chains have started offering third doses nationwide, including in the Chicago area.
Here's where qualified individuals can receive a third dose and what else you need to know:
As stated on CVS Pharmacy's website, "select immunocompromised individuals are eligible for a third dose of Pfizer or Moderna COVID-19 vaccine." The pharmacy chain encourages eligible individuals to make an appointment online.
Meijer, a big-box retailer with locations in states including Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, is offering a third COVID-19 vaccine dose for eligible individuals at all of its pharmacies, the company announced Monday.
Immunocompromised patients can text "COVID" to 75049 to make an appointment or walk into any Meijer pharmacy to receive their third dose. Qualified individuals will need to report their immunocompromised status through a screening questionnaire before receiving a third dose, according to a news release.
The CDC recommends administering the same vaccine as the patient’s original series whenever possible, the company added.
Before making a decision on whether to get the third dose, Walgreens advises people to "talk to their healthcare provider about their medical condition, and whether getting an additional dose is appropriate for them."
On its website, the pharmacy giant details who may be eligible for a third shot, including those who've been receiving treatment for certain types of cancer, people who've received an organ transplant or have a moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency. Those who are eligible are encouraged to find a store with their recommended vaccine and walk in to receive their third dose, Walgreens stated.
Additional COVID vaccine doses are now available for immunocompromised patients, according to the company's website. Shots are available by appointment-only.